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Cancellation Insurance for Music Festivals in 2021.

Andy Robertson

The current debacle on government backed insurance for possible cancellation of music festivals continues to be a hot topic among the live events industry and government departments. What is the realistic impact of the current impasse and what measure can music festival organisers take to make sure their event goes ahead as planned? 


With Covid-19 restrictions gradually being relaxed and music festival organisers announcing confirmed dates for July, August and September why are some festivals again being postponed until 2022 and others seemingly going ahead? There may several reasons why festival organisers feel forced to cancel yet others are determined to go ahead and it's most likely to do with funding and timing. A small independent festival with limited funds and a proposed date in July makes the event a highly risky financial venture should the event have to be cancelled due to Covid-19. For large well-funded festivals, some part of large corporate events companies, with dates in late summer they consider the risk of cancellation due to Covid-9 a risk worth taking.

Whilst there is a lot of activity going on behind the scenes with numerous live events organisations lobbying government for them to back a cancellation insurance scheme the response from government departments has been to pass the blame onto others. Ultimately the final decision lies with the chancellor who apparently has refused to fund such a scheme despite pleas from ministers from the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee. At the same time other European countries have had no problem in making funds available for underwriting cancellation insurance schemes for live events.

The dichotomy faced by music festival organisers is challenging because sooner or later they must decide whether to go ahead in 2021 or postpone. This is frustrating for many organisers because once the removal of restrictions was announced any available festival tickets were quickly snapped up making it a bumper sales day for those events going ahead. 

Should a music festival organiser make the bold decision to go ahead with an event in late summer there are certain things they can do to mitigate possible losses should their event need to be cancelled because of Covid-19. As a festival takes so long to plan it’s inevitable that some funds have been committed already in the form of deposits for artists fees, site construction and other contractor suppliers. It would be prudent to negotiate with all artists and contractors about financial commitments as some artists and suppliers may be open to returning deposits should the event be cancelled. Given that ticket sales for festivals have been buoyant it would probably be wise to cut back on any marketing and PR costs helping to negate potential cancellation costs. 

Festival Pro supports all initiatives to get music festivals back including government underwritten cancellation insurance. For any event organiser planning their music festival in 2021 using a software management platform like
Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their festival logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors guestlists and ticketing. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Andy Robertson
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